Letter to Agnieszka

dearest agnieszka,

oh, my far-away friend, my bean-feet, wind-willow friend. something dreadful has struck -- i can't write poems anymore, and it's not like i can pin it down to something. remember how, when you left on that wednesday afternoon, i was alive. i was wearing blue. we killed too many beers with one stone in the airport lounge. i whispered to you that, one day, i would be a famous poet. like ted hughes, only not so hairy and not so into hedges. remember? you hugged me and, like a school-girl newly found, you whispered back that you had every faith in me. but now i find myself rooted to a spot -- unable to reach up; devoid of any interests. i have even started to play our "when-the-world-sucks" game again. i look at ugly men's crotches, trying to gauge how big their willies are. i've noted a few -- the coloured man from human resources, the belgian doctor, the ugly motoring editor. (remember that guy in the scuffed cordorouy jacket in durban? remember how we made up those cruel stories about lice and tumours and crabs?) but even the willies don't help. i am inert, complaining and falling in love every day. i can't cry. i hate music. i can't even become vaguely interested in a dolmade. i am weary.

and weddings just make me more weary. remember anne? the one who wanted to become miss south africa and had an obsession with bryan adams? well, i somehow made it onto the wedding list. i wish you had been there -- we could have drunk too many cocktails and broken up a couple of marriages. eating acid the night before couldn't have helped. the bride looked like a toilet. a sugar bowl cover. a wet bed. the guests all sat in pastels in polite pews -- a bony shoulder blade peering out hungrily from beneath the straps of a cocktail dress, dandruff lazy on a collar, shoes, after-shave, dust. i got the giggles half-way through the second hymn as we sang about satanic mills. you know me! to sing 'satanic' in church is truly liberating. the bride and groom said they would be really, really nice to each other, even when they were weeing in their beds, begging for more beer money and fat as microsoft. they said they would do this with god's help. you would have been amused.

then the reception -- free food, unashamed whisky rogues plundering the bar's free supplies, then squandering their vocabulary on women in truworths dresses. tables with place settings -- lovers next to lovers, husbands and wives safe together on plastic blue chairs tied up with string. the chat -- what do you do? (i'm a mass murderer for clover dairies). do you live in durban? (no, i commute from taiwan by helium balloon). how do you know ann and mark? (who?) the focus on the dried fruit and nuts spewed like a truck accident all over the table (african theme, dahling, african). the hessian bags filled with sunflower seeds ("plant these and think of us - love anne and mark"). the tsunamis of nausea which lifesaved me towards the bar for yet another whisky. i prayed no-one asked me to dance.

but the food was bush-wacking alrighty -- ostrich and prawn kebabs. steak. phutu (african theme dahling, african). melktert, fruit slaai. a wedding cake in the shape of a zulu shield.

oh agnieszka. i will never be drunk enough for weddings. i will never be bold enough to really wear orange. i will never be dull enough to eclipse even the brightest sun. and i will KILL you if you ever, ever, decide to marry some weird farmer from turkey and live so far away that even butter is a luxury.

i, naturally, miss you. i won't be glum next time we speak. and i'll stop looking for big cocks on small chickens. i'm keeping it tidy.

ove, almonds and wedding bells (ha ha ha ha!)

Helen Walne

Copyright © Helen Walne
January 2000

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Copyright © 2000 A Small Garlic Press. All rights reserved.
Created 1998/4/29. Updated last on 2000/7/17.